40 Years in America

Celeste Vlasic

After being on MFT for a couple of years, many members were gathered at Belvedere where True Father was handing out pretty scarves and ties to the brothers and sisters.

He would call up each sister one by one, look them over briefly and then he would reach into this huge box of brightly colored scarves, each one being distinct in colors and designs. As each sister stepped forward and received her scarf, everyone applauded loudly, especially as the scarf seemed to perfectly fit the character and personality of each individual (i.e., the more outgoing the sister, the brighter and bolder the design).

As it was coming to my turn, I was sort of reluctant, almost panicking. Being very shy and conservative and not being one to be in the spotlight, I really did not want to have my turn. But of course, we really didnít have a choice, so as I stepped forward to receive my scarf, I was praying for a very conservative one. Lo and behold, True Father pulled out a solid blue scarf (the only solid one I recalled seeing) and handed it to me. It was just perfect. The color was sky-blue, a heavenly blue -- and it was special also because my name is Celeste (meaning heavenly, from celestial) and in Spanish, Celeste means blue. Truly, God really knew what I was capable of receiving.

Six years on MFT certainly provided many experiences. There was this Marlboro man. I call him that because I encountered this man fundraising and his appearance was quite distinct. He was tall, had on a sheepskin jacket, boots and those mirror-like sunglasses that only show your own reflection. As I approached him one time, he politely said "no thank you," and I went on my way. Around six or eight months later, I bumped into him again in an entirely different state, and believe it or not, a third time around another year later in an entirely different part of the country! (Unfortunately, he never donated anything, but maybe he thought this was beyond coincidence?)

One day in a very negative city, I was put in a "holding cell" in a jail where the police officer had to try to contact our regional director and find out about the status of our permits for fundraising. The holding cell (a large room) was just outside the three prison cells where six teenagers were being held because they were picked up as possible runaways and/or for drug possession.

They were really nice, but very young and some had a lot of trepidation as their parents were being contacted. As I was able to walk and talk to everyone in the cells, I decided I wanted to make it a memorable experience for all of us there. So I encouraged all of them to sing along with me -- "Tis a Gift to be Simple," and all six of them finally all joined in and were laughing and having a good time. I witnessed a little bit and never forgot that. (I hope they went a little straighter path after being released and had a somewhat pleasant memory of being imprisoned.)

Being on MFT for six years was quite a challenge, but God knew that what made it a bit easier for me was my love for traveling. One of the fondest memories was working in the state of Iowa. I had, by the way, traveled and fundraised as far north as Canada, all the southern states, plus Texas, Florida and the east and west coasts.

But Iowa was very flat terrain, nothing so interesting -- except that I was dropped off in small towns and had the town for the day. Almost all the persons I met were farmers (so many with thumbs and fingers missing from machinery), but so nice and pleasant. Everyone donated something and I truly thought Iowa was the closest thing to the Kingdom of Heaven in America, because there was so much positivity and purity flowing.

I remember one day I met someone in his place of business during the day, at his home in the early evening and met up with him again at a bar blitzing that night. Because he was well known and popular, he took me around the bar and made very single patron in the bar buy a flower from me. God bless him!

Being dropped off early one morning I was very tired and very negative and was having a hard time getting started. As I looked around I realized I was near the fenced edge of a huge field and about seven horses were way down at the other end of this pasture. Because I have an incredible love for animals, most especially horses, I started calling out to them and one by one, they all slowly walked over to me and allowed me to pet each one of them, and feed them grass I pulled up for them. After a while I felt very happy and inspired and was able to start my day.

I remember being with a group of Japanese sisters, who were sharing their many wonderful experiences of dreams about True Parents and some of them having their photos taken with some of the True Children.

Remarking to one of the Japanese sisters that I wished I had a dream of True Parents, she said, "If you desire it badly enough, you probably will." Well, that night, I had my very first dream of True Father, and was blessed with many dreams of True Father and True Mother for several years in the church and occasionally still have them. I am very grateful. I also had the opportunity to have my photo taken with one of the True Children. So many blessings!

One night I had a very vivid dream of Jesus. There was a big "swoosh" sound and all of a sudden Jesus appeared before me in a long white flowing robe. I started pouring out my heart to him. He listened intently and at the end he said two words: "Perfect prayer." I interpreted that to mean that we should just pray from our hearts. Another sister, Sarah, suggested that Jesus was commenting that it was a perfect prayer because I had poured out my heart to him. Either way, it was a wonderful connection I felt to Jesus.

One day after being on MFT for several years I was given the opportunity to be a receptionist at the regional MFT center. One sister, Nancy, asked what kind of sweaters I liked and was describing this beautiful white sweater that was really in style then (70s). She surprised me with it for my birthday and I was so happy! Then, one brother, Michael, suggested I give it away to a sister in the center. I was flabbergasted, because this was new and just what I wanted, and new and beautiful clothes were hard to come by on those MFT days. Also, the sister he was suggesting I give it to was having a difficult time generally and with me as well, as I was the team mother for a while. She went as far as rudely slamming the door in my face just because I went in to wake her up with a cheery good morning. I hadnít really sacrificed something I had wanted so badly (except for my dog when I joined the church!) but I gave this sister my new, never-worn-before sweater. (This sister later went on to say that an angel had given her that sweater -- referring to me.)

Anyway, a few days later, we were cleaning out the attic in the MFT center and an old suitcase that I swore was lost years before, reappeared and as I started looking through it, my dear Bible that True Father had once handed to me was in the suitcase. For years I thought I had lost it and felt so terrible, I could never read another Bible.

I am convinced that because I made that condition of giving the sweater away, that God blessed me with the precious Bible again, that I still have and cherish to this day.

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